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Senate bans nondisclosures; critics say they silence victims

BOSTON (AP) – The Massachusetts Senate has voted to ban non-disclosure clauses from ever being enforced against senators or staff members.

Critics of non-disclosure or “non-disparagement” agreements say they can be used as a tool to silence victims of sexual harassment and protect abusers.

The Senate already had a policy against non-disclosure clauses but the unanimous vote by the Senate on Thursday makes it a rule, and one that cannot be suspended for any reason.

The Senate vote during a rules debate is in contrast to Wednesday’s overwhelming vote in the House against an amendment that would have prohibited the use of non-disclosures in that chamber. House leaders said a policy adopted last year restricted the agreements from being used except when requested by the victim of alleged misbehavior.

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